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Richmond’s Rosies get VIP sendoff for trip to meet vice president in Washington, D.C.

In this photo released by Virgin America Airlines, Former Journeyman Welder Phyllis Gould, (center) 92, and original ‘Rosie the Riveters’ from the Bay Area: (L to R) : Marian Wynn (87), Kay Morrison (90), Priscilla Elder (93) (3rd L) Gould and Marian Sousa (88) are joined by Virgin America Captain Kim Gabrelcik (C 2nd row) and First Officer Denise Beringer and Teammates during red carpet reception and sendoff from San Francisco International Airport before they began their journey East for a special invitation meeting with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, Saturday, March 29, 2014 in San Francisco. The “Rosies” will board VX Flight 1 from SFO to DCA that will be piloted by Virgin America Captain Kim Gabrelcik and First Officer Denise Beringer on an “un-manned” flight. Virgin America donated seats in the airline’s Main Cabin Select premium cabin service for their trip.’Rosie the Riveter’ icon represents the American women who worked in factories that produced war supplies during World War II and were employed as electricians, journeyman welders, draftsman and pipe welders. (Photo by Virgin America/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Virgin America Airlines gave five former World War II defense workers from the Richmond shipyards the VIP treatment as they departed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport for Washington, D.C. and a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden.

The official news release from the airline:

March 29, 2013 – Saturday morning, Virgin America hosted a special red carpet send-off at the departure gate at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) for five original “Rosie the Riveters” from the Bay Area as they began their journey to the White House to meet Vice President Joe Biden. Virgin America sent the “Rosies” off in high-style and donated seats in the airline’s Main Cabin Select premium cabin service for their trip. “Rosie” Phyllis Gould received a special invitation to the White House from the Vice President on Veteran’s Day in a phone call thanking her for her service to the country. The Rosie the Riveter icon represents the American women who worked in factories that produced war supplies during World War II, replacing male workers who were called into service in the military. The Bay Area “Rosies” worked as electricians, journeyman welders, draftsmen and pipe welders at the local Kaiser Shipyard in Richmond, California during World War II, helping to build Liberty and Victory cargo ships. Several of the women still work as docents at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park.

The five “Rosies” were celebrated at a swing-dancing red carpet reception and sendoff by Virgin America teammates and Chief Marketing Officer, Luanne Calvert, who payed tribute to these pioneering women who paved the way for generations of women workers. The “Rosies” boarded VX Flight 1 from SFO to DCA, piloted by Virgin America Captain Kim Gabrelcik and First Officer Denise Beringer. Virgin America is flying the “Rosies” in its premium Main Cabin Select service that offers guests 38″ of seat pitch, unlimited complimentary cocktails and snacks from the airline’s award-winning menu, an all-access pass to in-flight media content, priority security access/boarding, dedicated overhead bin space and one free checked bag.

Rosie the Riveters head to Washington on Virgin America

Chris Treadway